Today is May 23

Published 8:00 am Sunday, May 23, 2021

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Turtle Day

Snapping turtles can live to be 30 years old in the wild. Their living area spreads from southeastern Canada all the way down through the central and eastern parts of the United States and into the state of Florida. A snapping turtle’s shell can grow up to 20 inches in length. These turtles are omnivores, eating both animal and plant life. Adult turtles are aggressive and have very few predators.

5 Incredible Snapping Turtle Facts!

  • A snapping turtle in captivity can live up to 50 years.
  • These turtles are nocturnal so they hunt at night.
  • The mouth of a snapping turtle is shaped like the hooked beak of a bird.
  • These turtles live in lakes, ponds, canals, and rivers.
  • Snapping turtles are solitary (live alone) most of the time.

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Taffy Day

Summertime seaside candy staple

Summertime fun frequently involves a trip to the seaside. While days are spent with toes in the sand, once the sun sets the entertainment moves away from the sand to the boardwalk attractions, food and fanfare.

Today, Atlantic City, New Jersey, is known for its casinos. But the city has a storied history as a seaside retreat. The Atlantic City Boardwalk opened on June 26, 1870, becoming the first boardwalk in the United States. National Geographic explains the first wooden planks were laid to curb the amount of sand beachcombers tracked into the train and hotel lobbies. Eventually, the boardwalk itself, with arcade halls and amusement attractions, would become its own destination.

Soon other boardwalks opened across the country, including in Coney Island, New York, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Boardwalks became hubs of summertime fun, with food and confections.

A well-known boardwalk treat, salt water taffy is a summertime staple. Salt water taffy is a soft taffy that was originally produced and marketed in Atlantic City. According to popular lore, David Bradley, whose candy store was flooded during a major storm in 1883, found all of his stock soaked with the salty Atlantic brine – including his taffy. When a young customer later came in asking if he had taffy, he jokingly offered her “salt water taffy.” The customer sampled the piece and showed her friends. The name “salt water taffy” caught on.

A man named Joseph Franlinger helped make salt water taffy a household name. After observing boardwalk visitors purchasing the candy during seaside jaunts, he found a way to box the candy and sell it so it wouldn’t be reserved only for summer holidays. According to candy manufacturer Wokenfuss, by the 1920s, salt water taffy was at the height of its popularity, with more than 450 manufacturers making and/or selling the candy at the time. Each had his own method of preserving the candy, making it less sticky and more portable.

Taffy was first prepared in copper kettles heated over open coals. The sugary mixture was cooled on marble slabs and then pulled from a large hook. The pulling incorporated air into the mix to help keep the taffy soft. The taffy was hand-rolled to the desired thickness, cut and then wrapped.

Salt water taffy is primarily a treat enjoyed on the east coast of the United States, but it is sold throughout the United States and Canada. No trip to the boardwalk is complete without snagging a piece of sweet salt water taffy.


Boating Safety Week

Did you know?

Statistics from the United States Coast Guard indicate that, in 2019, 86 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents where cause of death was known were not wearing life jackets. The National Park Service reports that drowning is the top cause of visitor deaths in national parks and that nearly all of those deaths are preventable. One of the simplest ways to prevent drowning is to follow the advice of the NPS and wear a life jacket at all times when near or in the water. This includes when wading, swimming, fishing, boating, and engaging in watersports or other water-related activities. The NPS notes that there are three types of life jackets, but only two come in child and infant sizes. Inherently buoyant (primarily foam) life jackets and hybrid (foam and inflation) life jackets are available in child and infant sizes. The NPS recommends both types of life jackets for swimmers and non-swimmers. People who intend to engage in water sports should know that some hybrid life jackets are designed specifically for such activities. The third type of life jacket is inflatable life jackets, which are only available in adult sizes and should never be worn by poor or non-swimmers.


Tire Safety Week

Tire maintenance keeps drivers safe

Maintaining tires is an important component of safe driving. Tires are some of the hardest working parts on a car or truck and are subjected to wear and tear every time rubber meets the road.

Tires affect many components of driving, including handling, braking and the comfort of the ride. Maintaining tires makes driving safe not only for drivers and their passengers, but also for fellow motorists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that, in 2017, 738 fatalities occurred because of tire-related crashes. Many of those crashes were no doubt preventable, and that only highlights the importance of maintaining tires and monitoring their performance.

Poor tire maintenance can lead to premature wear and potentially result in a blowout. The automotive group AAA notes it is important to visually inspect tires as often as possible. Drivers should look for overall tread wear. Pay special attention to tread wear on one edge of the tires, which could indicate poor alignment. Erratic tread wear may mean tires are out of balance.

Drivers also should pay attention to how their cars drive and sounds. Unusual vibration or thumping noises suggest issues with the tires. A car that pulls in one direction also may be experiencing tire problems.

Vehicle owners should be aware of the routine maintenance steps that can keep them safe and improve the life expectancy of tires.

· Tire pressure: The NHTSA says only 19 percent of consumers properly check and inflate their tires. Keeping tires properly inflated is one of the most important steps to maintaining them. Tires lose around 1 psi per month, and underinflated or overinflated tires can contribute to unusual wear, blowouts and even excessive fuel consumption.

· Rotation: Check the owner’s manual or recommendations from the tire manufacturer, but know that most mechanics advise having tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Rotation helps distribute wear more evenly on tires.

· Balancing: AAA says balancing also helps minimize uneven wear and tear. Balanced tires are achieved by using small weights attached to the wheels to limit vibration of the tire and wheels as they turn. New tires should be balanced, and tires also should be balanced after one or more is removed to repair a puncture.

· Alignment: Vehicles have wheel alignment measurements that pertain to manufacturers’ specifications. Alignment that falls outside of the range can impact handling, fuel economy and tread wear. A drift or pull suggests alignment problems and should be addressed.

Vehicle owners should keep tire inspection and maintenance in mind as part of their overall car care plan.